Dear Mister President,
The word is spreading.
The rumour is rumbling.
We speak with wrath. The Tarmac theatre, the only stage in France dedicated to francophone artists, is about to be shelved.
Until now, your manifested interest for Francophonie delighted us and aroused new hopes in the artistic community. For that we commend you.
But behind dedicated speeches praising the love of French language, it appears that the government is in fact shaping a brutal policy against this ideal. Is it that the administration has been mandated to be at war against all French speaking artists across the world?
We hear that the Tarmac theatre is on the verge of disappearing, and that a new theatre with entirely new staff and programmes will take its place. A silent death organized by the Ministry of Culture. We cannot believe this. By choosing to wipe out the Tarmac theatre, you are destroying our home and our future.
We had hoped for support from the new government but now fear we may be victims of old world politics, those that don’t allow francophone creators to speak out freely, flout the public or who ignore the work done in conjunction with schools and community networks. »
Further down the letter:
As you know Mister President, the Tarmac theatre is a well-established stage, a home for numerous French speaking artists from all over the world. It’s one of the largest international artistic networks in France, gathering writers, dancers, actors, choreographers, directors from every part of the globe, from Brazzaville to Cairo, from Ouagadougou to Beirut, Montreal to Marrakech.
You are also choosing to destroy and annihilate the work of a very popular theatre, firmly anchored in a vast and mixed-race district. Numerous schools, universities, libraries, NGOs, with whom we work everyday, are patiently building the cultural identity of future generations. It is now, Mister President, at times of rising xenophobic ideas, that you need to support the mission of the Tarmac theatre. Now more than ever you need to uphold the human values of the French Republic, and not obliterate the work to which we are contributing everyday.
Tell us Mister President, what kind of newly founded Francophonie would be one that starts by cutting off all its artists? How can you possibly develop or encourage new momentum by destroying a symbol?
Your defence of the Tarmac theatre would mean confronting European challenges induced by migratory flows and casting a realistic and generous look on our common history.
We, therefore refuse the unlikely. Many of us are strongly opposed to the loss of the Tarmac theatre, a recognized spearhead for Francophone cultures in France.
Mister President, we ask that you revise instantly your decision and decide once and for all to lead an ambitious policy for all actors of the francophone world.
We are today proudly united to defend the Tarmac theatre.
- Zeina Abirached, graphic novels writer
- Marguerite Abouet, author,
- Gustave Akakpo, playwright, theatre director, actor
- Laura Alcoba, writer
- Jacques Allaire, theatre director
- Pouria Amirshahi, “Francophone mission” recorder in Parlement (2014)
- Hakim Bah, playwright, winner of RFI 2016 theatre prize
- Kidy Bebey, writer, journalist
- Tahar Bekri, poet
- Yahia Belaskri, writer
- Souad Belhadad, writer, journalist
- Pascal Blanchard, Historian
- David Bobée, theatre director/ director of the Centre Dramatique National de Normandie -Rouen
- Ali Chahrour, choreographer
- Mahmoud Chokrollahi, writer and filmmaker
- Velibor Čolič, writer
- Serge-Aimé Coulibaly, choreographer
- Louis-Phillipe Dalembert, writer
- Luc Dardenne, filmmaker
- Jean Paul Delore, theatre director
- Ananda Devi, writer
- Manu Dibango, musician
- Fatou Diome, writer
- Abdelkader Djemaï, writer
- Ahmed El Attar, playwright, theatre director / director D-CAF festival – Cairo
- Hassan El Geretly, theatre director / director of Warsha – Cairo
- Radhouane El Meddeb, Choreographer
- Gaël Faye, singer, writer, musician
- Nedim Gürsel, writer
- Khadi Hane, novelist
- Guillaume Jan, writer
- Hassane Kassi Kouyaté, theatre director / director of Tropiques Atrium Theatre
- Jack Lang, President of the « Institut du monde arabe »
- Sébastien Langevin, editor-in-chief for « Le français dans le monde »
- Henri Lopes, writer
- Alain Mabanckou writer, Renaudot Prize 2006 / Professor, Department of French & Francophone Studies and African Studies Center at UCLA
- Marie-José Malis, theatre director, President of the SYNDEAC
- Yamen Manaï, writer
- Daniel Maximin, writer
- Achille Mbembe, philosopher / professor at Witwatersrand University Johannesburg
- Boniface Mongo Mboussa, essay writer
- Fiston Mwanza Mujila, writer
- Fabrice Murgia, playwright theatre director / director of Brussels National Theatre
- Nairi Nahapetian, novelist
- Criss Niangouna, writer and actor
- Dieudonné Niangouna, playwright, theatre director
- Wilfried N’Sondé, writer, musician
- Gabriel Okoundji, poet
- George Pau-Langevin, MP Paris XXe, ex-Minister for French overseas territories
- Raharimanana, writer
- Robin Renucci, theatre director
- Rodney Saint-Eloi, writer, / publisher (Mémoires d’encrier, Montréal)
- Salia Sanou, choreographer
- Boualem Sansal, writer
- Soro Solo, journalist
- Véronique Tadjo, writer, professor
- Sami Tchak, writer
- Barthélémy Toguo, artist
- Minh Tran Huy, novelist and journalist
- Abdourahman Waberi, writer, professor at George Washington University
- Olivier Weber, writer, former Ambassador of France
- Chabname Zariâb, novelist, filmmaker
- Aurélien Zouki, collectif Kahraba – Beyrouth / festival Nous, la Lune et les voisins